How did he come to this?
This young man was raised in a good home. His parents, though not wealthy, had given him love and instruction in right living. All the neighbors spoke of how kind, gentle and caring he had been as a youth.
At a time when most young men were choosing either education or career, he had cared for his family as a carpenter, then later chose to pursue a calling he believed in deeply. Without a great deal of formal education he had begun a life of religious ministry. It was a course for which he appeared to be unusually gifted. Those who heard him commented on the power and authority which his words carried. His message was one of holy living governed by the love of God.
As one might expect, quite a few of the current religious leaders resented his popularity. Their frustration with him was elevated by the fact that he did not hesitate to point out their own faults, as well as those of the common people who followed him so attentively. The more the common people adored him, the greater the antagonism of the “regular” clergy. His great appeal to the masses caused fear in both religious circles and among the politically connected.
Though his message focused on love, forgiveness, hope, and holy living, those who resented him finally became so violently opposed to him that they conspired to bring about his death. They were determined to end his prominence and respect among the people.
On one occasion his entry into the capital city was so wildly heralded that his detractors knew they must act quickly or risk losing the whole nation to his influence. They brought false charges against him and convinced the crowds that he was against the very God they revered. When the civil government was hesitant to become involved with his case, these same leaders brought charges of his sedition against the government and gained his death sentence as their reward.
As the executioners prepare him for death, his mother is nearby as a witness. Memories flood over her.
Wasn't she promised her son was indeed the son of the Living God?
Didn't shepherds come, on the night of his birth, telling of hearing the very angels of heaven sing of glory and joy?
And what about the men of great wealth and wisdom who had come so far from the East to worship this new King of the Jews?
For over three years now, she attentively had watch him and listened to him. He could heal the sick, cause the lame to walk, and even raise the dead! He loved the left out and ministered to the marginalized. He was kind to children and respected women. He even taught his followers to honor Caesar in things that didn't dishonor God.
Neither Mary nor the others who followed this young man could dream in that dark hour the radiance of that Sunday morning that was coming. The Sunday morning when the power of God would raise His Son to life eternal with glory and power unimaginable (Romans 1:4-5)! And every mother who views an infant since that day can give thanks to God, the Father of all because her child has the hope of everlasting life and sharing in eternal glory. And this is because this Father let His son be born in a manger, die on a cross, and leave behind an empty tomb!
Once again Mary, and all who have come after her, can hear the testimony of angels as they sing:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14 NIV).
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